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Zoabi: This is no democracy Photo: Gil Yohanan
Zoabi: This is no democracy Photo: Gil Yohanan
 
 

Knesset revokes MK Zoabi's privileges

Arab MK who took part in flotilla handed 'Iranian passport' before having diplomatic passport taken

Yael Branovsky
Latest Update: 07.13.10, 22:20 / Israel News

The Knesset revoked privileges from MK Hanin Zoabi Tuesday, due to her participation in the Gaza aid flotilla in May.

 

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A majority of 34 MKs voted in favor of invalidating her diplomatic passport and revoking her right to receive funding for legal expenses.

 

A violent brawl was nearly started between Arab and Jewish MKs after the hearing. Zoabi clapped when the Knesset's decision was announced, and MK Yoel Hasson drew close to her and said, "You will soon be a former MK."

 

Hasson also joined MK Carmel Shama in answering Arab MKs, who were shouting cries of "fascists" towards the Jewish Knesset members.

 

"It is no wonder that a state which denies a million Arab citizens their basic rights is also revoking the rights of an MK who faithfully represents her voters," Zoabi said after hearing the decision.

 

"This is a dangerous precedent for the Arab public, and a hostile message. Anyway the Knesset imposes limits on our parliamentary and public activity through racial legislation, and privileges would not have lessened these limitations."

 

The MK added she would appeal to legal and international organizations "in order to curb the vengeful impulses of the automatic majority in the Knesset".

 

MK Yariv Levin, who chairs the Knesset's House Committee, said the decision was in keeping with the public opinion "that we must take a tough stance against MKs who harm IDF soldiers and question our basic right to be here".

 

But Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, who abstained from the vote, said the decision to revoke Zoabi's privileges should have been left to the attorney general.

 

"It is not proper for MKs to revoke the rights of another MK," he said. "It is a slippery and dangerous slope. Today it is aimed against one side and tomorrow could be aimed at another."

 

'No democracy exists here'

Zoabi spoke at a hearing before the vote and said the Knesset's conduct proved democracy was nonexistent in Israel. Two MKs were removed from the plenum for conduct deemed unbecoming.

 

"A debate such as this cannot be held in a proper fashion, and it would shame any other parliament in the world," said the Arab MK. "You can't claim that democracy exists here. I am an MK and I have the right, even the duty, to fight for my positions."

 

She went on to say that, far from revoking her rights, the other MKs should be protecting them. "You should have protected me from the racism against me because of my opinions," she said.

 

"I am an MK from Balad, which means I oppose the occupation and the blockade. Not only do I represent the opinions of my people, I represent those of other Arab MKs. I also represent a global consensus."

 

Zoabi went on to accuse MKs of seeking revenge on her. "You should be thanking me, or at least helping me," she reiterated.

 

Zoabi receives 'Iranian passport'

MK Anastassia Michaeli (Yisrael Beiteinu), who had previously attacked Zoabi on the stand, now presented her with an Iranian passport bearing her picture. She was thereafter removed from the plenum.

 

But before she left Michaeli told Zoabi, "Most of the Arabs in Israel are smart enough and faithful enough to the state to open their eyes after your incitement. You do not represent them."

 

The angered MK added, "In any modern state, a parliament member that crosses red lines and identifies with the enemy and its armament with weapons of mass destruction will not find in his pocket a diplomatic passport of the country he seeks to destroy.

 

"I take your loyalty to Iran seriously and suggest that you appeal to Ahmadinejad for citizenship and a diplomatic Iranian passport. In the meantime allow me to supply you with a temporary passport that will certainly benefit you in your incitement tours, because we will be revoking your Israeli passport tonight."

 

MK Shai Hermesh (Kadima) quoted David Ben Gurion, explaining why he had added Moshe Dayan to his roster. "I prefer to have him pissing out from my tent, rather than from outside in," he quoted.

 

"Pushing Zoabi out from the Knesset would be a mistake. The damage she will do as a movement outside parliament that can accuse Israel of apartheid is inestimably greater than the damage she can do from inside," Hermesh added.

 

 

 

 

First Published: 07.13.10, 19:55

 

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